The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Meningitis

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Robbed

    5
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Burns

    4
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Beaten

    3
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Groped

    9
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Giardia

    8
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Falls

    12
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Malaria

    5
  • Robbed

    13
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Groped

    2